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Old 05-16-2021, 09:59 AM   #19
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javiramallo's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Merida, Spain
Posts: 334

Originally Posted by jansen View Post
Hi Javi,

FWIW, I have never ever used a reference track. I did not even know what a reference track was until last month, when some frantic online discussion convinced me to buy Metric A/B for pocket money (money down the drain so far), assuring me that this would change my life.

I get the point of a reference track and all that, what bothers me on a 'philosophical' level is that you're just borrowing the sound of a specific era.

Case in point: the 90s and the grunge scene. I loathe the sound from that era. (hence my lack of enthusiasm for this month's track). Do I want to copy it just because it's the same genre? Mixing (in our non-commercial circumstances at least) should be about what we want to hear, not what some producer wanted to create x years ago.

But maybe with the tools that we now have, it feel reassuring and safe to do this? I don't know.

Sorry if it sounds like a rant, it is Sunday afternoon after all and there was good wine earlier on
Hi Jansen.

Definitely You don't need METRIC-AB or any other such plugin. Although I recognize that they can facilitate the workflow when it comes to referencing.

I strongly advise you to use a reference track, and let me explain why.

The point of having a reference track to go to from time to time during the mixing work is not to imitate or copy the sound, nor the character of that reference track. Although you could if you want such as thing. .

If you let me, I'll bored you with a bit of recent recording and mixing history:

Since the democratization of recording and mixing (20 or 30 years ago), it was discovered that, by not working in a controlled environment, that is, in a recording studio designed to be acoustically correct and with a knowledgeable and experienced person in charge, the results of the mixing work were just bad, inconsistent, and uneven.

The rooms of the "home studios" are a continuous source of problems due to their anti-acoustic geometry, due to their erroneous or non-existent acoustic treatment and because the human in charge tries to do what was done, until then, by experienced professionals in the studio.

A partial solution to this came from the hand of "reference tracks" which is nothing more than incorporating into our project (in an appropriate way*) a track that has been recorded (probably)in a professional studio, in a professional way and by experienced people. In this way, by going to the reference track from time to time, we will get an idea of ​​whether we are approaching an acceptable sound or we are doing something crazy. No more.

Thanks to them (to the reference tracks) we find answers to questions such as:
Am I loading my mix with a lot of bass?
Will my mix be too sharp?
Am I using a lot of reverb without realizing it?

In short: the use of a reference track is the tool we have at our disposal to overcome the problem that we are mixing in a room (probably a parallelepiped), with monitors that are often inappropriate for our room or their position in it and finally our lack of skills.
This is the way to get around these problems at the same time we learn.

*This is how my sessions always look like. The very beginning tracks always are my ref tracks (In BLUE). This tracks are not being processing by any process. they are directly pointing to a hardware output in order to flow directly to the speakers when I solo them.

After years I could say that the majority of multi-track work session in a home studio I found does not have least than 1 or 2 reference tracks.
I hope this help.

Big Hugs
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